Anna writes: Full of excitement and long overdue, we set off on Friday afternoon for a long weekend in Chicago to visit my sister-in-law and and many other members of my husband's family, at a huge family event to take place at 10 am on Saturday. Well, all good and well, so you would think, until we arrived at Fort Lauderdale airport to total mayhem. Everything after that is nothing short of shocking!
So, lets start with: checked in on line in the morning but because we were traveling with an infant, we were told to go to the ticket desk. We arrived at the airport two hours before our flight and dutifully got into the line. We kept asking if we could get in another queue as it was not moving. We were told "don't worry, everyone in same boat, we'll call your flight if it's too close." My daughter was attached to my husbands ticket so he waits as I go through security to get to the gate to make sure they can't leave without us.
I get to the gate and explain the situation, and they say "well, if they aren't checked-in 45 minutes before, it's your problem and they can't fly." I get more and more frustrated and say "so you won't let a baby fly with its mother when I have all her medicine and, oh, its my choice if I don't want to board?" How about, I paid for a service, I made big family plans and have family counting on us being there, and you guys are going to small claims court if you prevent that from happening!!! Well, after doing the very best I could in getting sympathy from fellow customers but not staff, even from standby passengers, they essentially tell me to go back to rebook. I have no choice, other than to be arrested, and so I do go back to the ticket desk. Upon arriving, it appears there are several families in the same position. THEY NEVER CALLED THE FLIGHT TO CHICAGO!
I get told to calm down, there are children present. Calm down?! No, they say, we do not give our names but we can refund you the ticket and you can book to go another time. In fact, they even want to charge us to rebook. So, I say, what about the fact my sister in law has been waiting for us to visit and we planned this in good time and we have a family event and I have a job, are you going to pay for all the rearrangements of that too because you essentially denied us boarding?!
No food ticket, no hotel, on standby but if that fails we would be happy to refund you. Oh, I don't think so, and did I mention I am a lawyer? We asked them to give us a copy of the notes attached to our booking and they refuse. They also refuse to speak to customer service who we have finally reached after being on hold for 30 minutes and they say we have no notes with our booking. With no other options as its now 11 pm and our flight departed at 8:40. We leave and check into a nearby hotel at our cost so we do not have an annoying and long trip home and back again to the next day, especially as our flight is scheduled for 7:55 am, so we are advised to arrive by 6.30 am.
Next morning, hoping that this is not a redundant exercise, we make our way through security to be told that the flight is oversold and they ask whether anyone is willing to take a later flight. Hopes of standby look slim at this point and the woman at the check in desk basically tells us to leave. Being me, I refuse and say I am not leaving until every last person has boarded. We wait and low and behold, only because we stand right there at the desk they tell us they can accommodate us and we board. Finally.